Just the Facts, Jack!
Imagine, if you will, a land dominated by a people so sure of their place on the world stage, of being the most beloved of their gods, having secured this placement with the price of thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children’s hearts. In conquest, they took the hearts of their captured enemies as they pillaged the lands and her people. Ironically, it is the very type of warfare they utilized (taking as many live captives as possible) that ultimately led to their downfall by outsiders who also believed that they were the most beloved of their gods.
Enter stage left, one of the greediest, cruelest, most genocidal cultures of the time. Their boots hit the new worlds screaming, “Where’s the money?” By this, they meant slaves, gold, and resources forcibly procured by the indigenous tribes. They had no moral issue treating other humans with cruelty and dishonor. In fact, these savages were not considered human at all. Their warfare consisted of mass killing on the battlefields.
What I, from a dog’s perspective, wonder is how much damage has been done in the course of human history by this very belief that some groups of humans are more valuable than others. Now dogs on the other hand feel that all backends are equal… if you know what I mean.
Horror aficionados tuck in with a bag of popcorn, you will be satisfied. For those who love a happy ending, this may not be your tale. If you are happy with a moral to your story, this time brought to you by one of the most ferocious war dogs that walked the planet, buckle in for a wild ride.
The Aztecs, when Cortez came a-calling, were able to rally armies of 200,000 men for a campaign with ease. They fancied bloody rituals and the cruelty they bestowed on their victims led to their infamy. During one ribbon cutting ceremony for a new pyramid’s grand opening, the hearts of 80,000 people were taken. You know…just sayin’, we dogs would have handled that a skosh differently. Some of you humedians are grinning already cause you know where I am heading. Yep, raise a leg to mark a spot. Take that pyramid, you are mine! I will admit to wondering the true backstory of ribbon cutting ceremonies now.
The Aztec soldiers were massive, had vast arrogance, phenomenal skills, and weapons that were the best of their time including wooden swords, stone knives, and bows. Even though the soldiers were highly skilled and unsurpassed in number, they were no match to the small regiment of Spaniards led by Cortez, which consisted of 490 soldiers, guns, war horses, and war dogs. To give the warhorses their due, these suckers were taught to fight the enemy with kicks and bites. Good show guys – at least you weren’t on the menu anymore!
Enter the war dogs, the Spaniards used many different breeds but the most fearsome were the Mastiffs, built more like Rottweilers whose body weight sometimes reached 250 pounds of sheer terror. They outfitted them with huge, long spiked collars and formidable armored coats. The Aztec actually thought these dogs were some species of dragon as they had no framework of reference in their collective history to describe them. They did have dogs, but these were small, hairless dogs with a submissive cast to their personalities. These war dogs were a secret weapon used by the soldiers during battle.
Cortez destroyed the Aztecs’ great city, killing thousands of their people. His conquest ushered in many diseases that claimed up to 80% of their population over time. He eventually brought this great empire under Spanish rule, even bringing in his language.
According to historical documentation, the most ferocious and utterly loyal war dog was Becerillo, or “Little Bull.” He was from kennels fashioned in the Americas, belonging to Ponce de Leon, who was the Spanish conqueror of Puerto Rico. Ponce loaned his doggy to Salazar who was awaiting the arrival of the Spanish Governor of the area. Bored, the Spanish troops decided to have a spot of fun. They picked an old lady, handed her a slip of folded paper, and asked her to deliver the paper to the Governor. As the old woman shuffled on her journey through the field, the cruel men unleashed Becerillo. As she heard the lumbering, slobbering brute on her heels she fell to her knees. She begged the snarling dog not to hurt her as she was just doing the job she had been given. She addressed him as “Lord Dog” which didn’t hurt matters and the ferocious WAR DOG stopped, sniffed her up and down for a moment, and walked away. She was taken into captivity until the Governor arrived and heard the story, after which he made a long overdue proclamation that things needed to change around there. He was ashamed that a dog was demonstrating characteristics that true believers of their faith were not living by. The old woman was released, and the troops were told to stop terrorizing the locals. Well spotted Captain Obvious and amen!
As a parting thought, I was wondering, why do you celebrate Columbus Day? The man never set foot in North America because he was too busy terrorizing the people along the Caribbean islands and Hispaniola, and later the indigenous peoples up and down the Central and South American coast. How about let’s make the holiday, “Buy Your Pooch a Burger Day”, or “Becerillo Teaches Some Muttonheads How to be Decent Day,” celebrated, of course, with burgers for all!